Thursday Open Line

A technological breakthrough that has led to remarkable changes in American and global society occurred 45 years ago today … or yesterday, depending on your point of reference. While Americans in the Eastern and Central time zones entered October 30, 1969, it was around 10:30 p.m. Pacific time on October 29 that the first connection was made on what would become the Internet. The first two computers linked were at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Stanford Research Institute — part of a Defense Department program called ARPANET. Within a year, 10 sites were connected, and in 1972, the now-universal “@” symbol was selected to facilitate email. Today, over three quarters of U.S. households have computers, and about 72 percent have Internet access at home. Profile America is in its17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.